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Montreal, Mexico City and Charlotte possible candidates for MLB expansion

11 July 2017 15:35

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has indicated that Montreal, Mexico City and Charlotte could all be candidates for expansion teams.

When asked at Monday's All-Star game FanFest about the future of MLB and possible expansion, Manfred intimated a new team is not in the immediate future.

However, he did broach the subject of MLB returning to Montreal, a city that has long since clamoured for professional baseball to come back, with the Expos having left in 2004 to become the Washington Nationals.

"I know the Mayor of Montreal has been very vocal about bringing baseball back to Montreal," Manfred said.

"Charlotte's a possibility. And I'd like to think that Mexico City or some other place in Mexico would be a possibility."

It has been nearly 20 years since MLB expanded with the addition of the Florida Marlins and Arizona Diamondbacks in 1998, but Manfred's focus right now appears to be on resolving issues surrounding current franchises.

"I think for us to expand we need to be resolved in Tampa and Oakland in terms of their stadium situations,” he said.

"As much as I hope that both Oakland and Tampa will get stadiums, I think it would be difficult to convince the owners to go forward with an expansion until those situations are resolved."

Mexico City is home to one of six MLB offices outside the U.S. and has hosted several exhibition games between big league clubs.

Tony Clark, executive director of the MLBPA, said this week the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres could play a regular-season series in Mexico City as soon as next season.

Charlotte, the lone domestic location of the three mentioned, already supports NFL and NBA franchises. The Triple-A Charlotte Knights led Minor League Baseball with an average attendance of 8,974 fans a game in 2016.

However, BB&T Ballpark, the stadium the Knights have called home since its construction in 2014, reportedly cannot be retrofitted to accommodate major-league specifications.

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